Women's Health and Weight Loss: The Importance of Calcium in a Woman's Diet

Recently I published an article about the importance of exercise in fighting against the bone-brittle disease osteoporosis.

There are actually 3 primary factors that may put someone at risk for osteoporosis---women in particular:

lack of calcium
hormonal deficiency (estrogen in particular)
lack of physical activity
So in addition to exercise and hormonal factors, a woman's diet is extremely important in guarding off this very debilitating condition.

One of the reason's why we do not recommend most traditional diet plans and programs are because the over-restrictive eating guidelines often eliminate or seriously limit the consumption of some very necessary vitamins and minerals that keep the body healthy and strong.

You never want to get to a point where you are sacrificing health merely to lose weight. In fact, any weight loss program
worth half its salt will make sure that the recommendations made for your daily diet intake are well balanced and full of all the nutrients that you need.

The most important time to get an appropriate amount of calcium is between the ages of 14 and 24 when peak bone mass is obtained. Then after that bone continues to develop until about age 35 to 40, at which time the bone mass that a woman has will strongly determine how much at risk she may be
for bone fractures in her later years.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that women intake 1,000 mg (1g) of calcium daily, and then increase their daily dosage to 1,500 mg (1.5g) post menopause.

Sadly, only an estimated 25% of women in any age group consume the recommended daily amount of calcium to guard against osteoporosis. And when they go on diets and weight loss programs, they tend to consume even less.

Lowfat dairy products such as milk (skim milk is a better option), yogurt, and cottage cheese are all excellent sources of dietary calcium. For those who are lactose intolerant or who wish to generally stay away from dairy products, non-dairy alternatives fortified with calcium will do as long as they continued the recommended daily allowance (RDA). The nondairy product Lactaid added to low fat and nonfat milk may also work to help you meet your desired goal.

In your efforts to lose weight, make sure that the weight loss program that you use includes calcium-rich food choices. And if it does, you will need to add them yourself. No matter what weight loss program you are on or what other means you use to lose weight, here are some good ideas recommended by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that you may add to your daily diet in order to get the amount of calcium you need while you lose the weight.

Prepare canned soup with skim milk instead of water
Add nonfat dry milk to soups, stews, and casseroles
Add grated low-fat cheese to salads, tacos, and pasta dishes
Eat yogurt as a snack, or use it to make low-calorie dressings
Choose calcium-rich desserts, such as low-fat cheese and fruit, frozen nonfat or low-fat yogurt, and puddings made with skim milk
Drink hot chocolate in the winter made with skim milk


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